The annual rate of growth of Israel’s ultra-Orthodox population is the highest of any population in the developed world—approximately 4%. Behind this unusually high growth rate, lie high fertility rates, modern standards of living and medical care, a young age at marriage. This is a very young population: Almost 60% are under the age of 20, compared with 30% among the Jewish population. In 2019, the ultra-Orthodox population numbered 1,125,000, compared with 750,000 in 2009, and now constitutes 12.5% of Israel’s total population. According to Central Bureau of Statistics projections, this figure will rise to 16% of the general population by 2030, reaching two million people in 2033. Analysis of fertility rates among ultra-Orthodox families over the last decade and a half reveals a slight drop – from 7.5 live births per woman between 2003 and 2005, to 7.1 between 2015 and 2017. The average fertility rates among other Jewish women in Israel stand at 4.0 for national-religious women; 3.2 for traditional-religious women; 2.5 for traditional non-religious women, and 2.2 for secular women.
The marriage rate among the ultra-Orthodox ages 20 and above —for both men and women—is far higher (84%) than the corresponding rate among other Israeli Jews (62%). This gap is explained by the young average age at marriage among the ultra-Orthodox. However, over the years there has been a moderate rise in age at marriage: In 2003–2004, for example, 23% of ultra-Orthodox Jews ages 20–29 were single; by 2017–2018, this had risen to 31%.
Figure 1: Population Projections by Population Group, 2019–2064
** The Statistical Report on Ultra-Orthodox Society in Israel is based on data from the Central Bureau of Statistics, government ministries and authorities, and the National Insurance Institute.